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24 September 2014
Wars and Conflict - Newspaper Archive

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Irish Independent, Thursday, 4th May 1916
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Condemning root and branch, as we do, the iniquitous conduct of the fomenters of this outbreak we, at the same time, deem it our bounden duty to declare that there are others more highly placed who have an indirect responsibility which is not less grave. Sir Edward Carson’s movement in Ulster, with its threat of civil war, not only encouraged Germany to launch hostilities, but it practically set the example which other disaffected elements in the country took as an invitation to arm and drill for their own objects. If there had been no Ulster Volunteers, encouraged and protected by Sir Edward Carson and many others occupying high positions, there would have been no armed Sinn Feiners or Irish Volunteers. But responsibility must be extended beyond and above Sir Edward Carson and his fellow Covenanters to Mr Birrell and the Government who permitted them to form an armed body of men for the avowed purpose of rebellion. The Chief Secretary countenanced the Ulster parade of defiance to the authority of the state and treated it as bluff. For his handling of the whole situation which developed from the Covenanting movement until the whole country became an armed camp of irresponsible bodies of men, Mr Birrell is primarily responsible. It was mainly due to his untimely levity that matters took the turn which has led to the result we now behold. Once or twice the authorities seemed to wake up to the danger of the situation and issued proclamations against the importation of arms. These were defied by the Ulster gun runners whose offences were condoned by the Government. Again when the Sinn Fein gun running took place, Mr Harrel, the acting head of the Dublin Metropolitan Police, believing in his simplicity that the government were in earnest in their desire to check the importation of arms attempted to capture the rifles landed at Howth, and was dismissed for his pains. Yet those were some of the weapons used last week in shooting down soldiers and innocent citizens who pay taxes to a Government who failed to protect them. In Ireland the Chief Secretary plays a part which is without parallel in any other part of the Empire. He is de facto the Government of Ireland, and no amount of quip or cracks will free him from the responsibility for the state of affairs which led up to the events of last week.

responsibility must be extended beyond and above Sir Edward Carson...

To come back to the matter of most urgent importance to the citizens of Dublin, several of the business parts of Dublin are ruined for the present and there is little chance in many instances of rebuilding and resuming business. As this damage is as much the result of acts of war as in the case of the Hartlepool or Scarborough raids, it is the duty of the Government to indemnify the sufferers, most, if not all, of whom had not the slightest tinge of sympathy with the "rising". It is also the duty of the Government to see that no such deplorable occurrences shall ever again blot the fair fame of this country, whether in Dublin or in Ulster. There is surely enough bloodshed in the foreign fields, whereon the destinies of Europe are being shaped, without bringing the grisly tragedy to our own doors. Many widows and orphans and many innocent victims represent the toll of a week of anarchy in Dublin. Circumstances favoured the incendiaries, inasmuch as they were fairly well armed and supplied with ammunition and England’s military resources were taxed to the uttermost by the demands of a war of unprecedented magnitude. Yet the "rising" was a mere matter of hours, a miserable fiasco leaving behind its trail of woe and horror. Let the moral not be lost upon us or upon our rulers. Let us, in God’s name be done with revolution or thought of revolution in Ireland, whatever be its guise or pretext.

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